Posts tagged: comfort

GOD’S NAMES: A Portrait of His Heart – God of All Comfort, Part 6 – 03/08/16

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By , March 8, 2016 4:13 pm
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We sang Open Up the Heavens by Vertical Church Band, Mighty to Save by Laura Story and Fairest Lord Jesus by Christy Nockels today in worship.

Kathy continued her teaching on God of All Comfort with an exploration into God’s Glory promised  and revealed and then our biblical response to move closer to Him and ask for more.

GOD’S NAMES: A Portrait of His Heart- God of All Comfort, Part 5-encore – 03/02/16

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By , March 3, 2016 4:54 pm
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Praise God for the opportunity for “do-overs”!  Kathy did an encore of the lesson from last week today!  With this recording there is an accompanying revised worksheet.

GOD’S NAMES: A Portrait of His Heart: God of All Comfort, part 5 – 02/23/16

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By , February 23, 2016 9:25 pm
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We began today with praise and worship, singing:  God is Able by Hillsong, Anchor of Hope by Ellie Holcomb, and It Is Well by Bethel.

Kathy reviewed all the principles of comfort that we have covered over the past 4 weeks.  She then expanded on the need to grieve the losses and deaths in our life; loved ones, dreams, seasons of life, relationships, health, etc.  In honestly grieving we can let go and then be fully comforted by our God.

I regret, that for reasons we do not understand, the recording did not work today.  We are doing the best we can and will continue to try to improve the quality of the recordings and our posts.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions from the worksheet.

GOD’S NAMES: A Portrait of His Heart – God of All Comfort, Part 3- 02/09/16

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By , February 9, 2016 4:58 pm
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We sang Come Thou Font by Gateway Worship, I AM by Mark Shultz and How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin in our praise and worship.

Kathy continued the teaching on God of All Comfort with a deeper exploration of why we find it hard to receive comfort from God.

GOD’S NAMES: A Portrait of His Heart – God of All Comfort, Part 2 – 02/02/16

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By , February 2, 2016 3:45 pm
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We opened singing “Blessed Assurance” by Third Day, “I AM” by Phil Wickham and “Days of Elijah” by Judy Jacobs in praise and worship.

Kathy reviewed the principles of God of All Comfort in the example of Paul and suffering.  She began a 2-part exploration of God of All Comfort as seen in Psalm 40:1-11.  “Get ready! I ‘m coming!”  Today she described the “get ready” part: knowing God’s voice of Comfort, moving mountains, lifting others up, and preparing the way with praise.

GOD’S NAMES: A Portrait of His Heart – God of All Comfort – 1/26/16

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By , January 27, 2016 8:55 am
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We began our spring semester with praise and worship singing:  Prepare the Way by Millieum Worship, Anchor of Hope by Ellie Holcomb and In Christ Alone with The Solid Rock by Travis Cottrell.

Kathy introduced us to a new name of our heavenly Father, the God of All Comfort.  Through the example of Paul and his second letter to the Corinthians she lead us through the ideas that there is purpose in our pain and how we can receive God’s power and comfort through our weakness.

How Relationships Work: Life-Giving Friendships – 04/14/15

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By , April 15, 2015 11:32 am
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We began our last day of this series with praise and worship singing: Christ Be All Around Me by Michael W Smith and What A Friend by Kathryn Scott.

Kathy finished up this series on relationships describing the characteristics of a best friend – which we have in Jesus, the purpose of friendship, and what fruit is produced in godly  friendships.

A Taste of God’s Love

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By , July 18, 2014 11:59 am
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He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble.

 

2 Corinthians 1:4

 
In the last few days I’ve had disturbing news about two people I love. First I received a text message asking for prayer for my friend Robin. She was being wheeled into surgery to have an emergency appendectomy. Next, I heard that Debby, a dear friend, had just lost her mother. My heart ached as I thought about how hard those things must be.
 
Both times I dropped everything to pray, but as soon as I said “amen” my next impulse was to start cooking. At a time when words seemed empty, I couldn’t think of a better way to express my concern than to bring an offering of comfort food. Heaping quantities of good food served in disposable containers speaks a love language most people understand.
 
Almost every time you see Jesus encounter hurting people in the Bible, He does something tangible: He reaches out, He visits, He feeds. Those are the things that I can do too to bring some small measure of comfort, strength, and healing to people around me. It is wonderful to know that God can actually use my portable little feasts to tell His children “I love you.”
 

chickpie

 
Robin’s Chicken Pot Pie is my new name for an old favorite. It, like most comfort food, is nourishing, simple, and familiar. This one-dish meal evokes pleasant childhood memories of times when I was home sick from school. I couldn’t wait to dig into this steaming treat (or to pinch off a bite of crust when no one was looking).
 
 
ROBIN’S CHICKEN POT PIE
 
1 package Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crust
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
6 carrots, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
1 ¼ cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 small jar pimentos, drained
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup all purpose flour
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup half and half
1 ½ cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons sherry or dry white wine
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
 
Cook the chicken breasts in seasoned water until falling off the bone, approximately 30 minutes. Cover the pot and let sit until cool. Drain off broth and save for future use. Discard skin and bones; chop coarsely. Reserve the broth
 
Preheat the oven the 350 degrees. Blanch carrots in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and cool.
 
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly without letting the flour get brown. Add the broth and cook over low heat until thickened. Add the half and half and the sherry, cook over low heat until thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and tarragon. Add the chicken and vegetables, stirring gently. Taste and adjust seasonings (most people will prefer more salt).
 
Mix the egg and water in a small bowl. Pour the filling into a greased 9×13-inch casserole. Place the pastry over the filling, then trim, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the edge of the dish with egg wash and press the overhanging dough onto the dish. Crimp the pastry decoratively and brush the top with egg wash. Use excess dough to make cutouts for the top if desired. Cut a steam vent in the center. Bake in the middle of the oven until dough is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
 
 
This is my adaptation of a recipe from “Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins, Julee Rosso, Sarah Leah Chase
 
 

bananapudding

 
 
Debby’s mom made her banana pudding with Eagle Brand milk. This sugary, syrupy milk must taste like liquid love to Debby because she insists that it is essential to the recipe. I have also included my personal favorite banana pudding recipe—it’s very close to the version on the back of the Nabisco vanilla wafer box. You’ll have to try both and see which your taste buds prefer!
 
 
 
DEBBY’S FAVORITE BANANA PUDDING
 
2 ½ T. all purpose flour
Dash of salt
1 ½ c. half-and-half
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand milk
2 egg yolks
1 t. vanilla extract
3 c. sliced ripe bananas
1 box vanilla wafers
6 egg whites (at room temperature)
6 tablespoons sugar
 
Make custard: Mix flour and salt. Add half-and-half and canned milk and cook in double boiler until mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Add tempered egg yolks. Stir until thickened (This took over 30 minutes – finally put directly on the heat to speed up the process. Be sure to stir constantly if you do this.) Add vanilla. Cool slightly.
 
Make meringue: Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 6 tablespoons sugar.
 
Make pudding: In a medium ovenproof dish, layer vanilla wafers and banana. Pour custard over the layers. Spread meringue over pudding and bake at 425 degrees until golden, approximately 4-5 minutes. Burns easily. (For a crowd, use a deeper dish–double the custard recipe and quantity of bananas. I did this and still did not use the whole box of wafers.)
 
 
 
TRADITIONAL BANANA PUDDING
 
 
1 cup sugar, divided
2-½ tablespoon flour
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs, separated
2 c. half & half (or substitute whole milk, but it won’t be as wonderful!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 c. sliced ripe bananas
1 box vanilla wafers
2 egg whites (optional: makes a prettier and more generous meringue)
 
Make custard: Mix flour and ½ cup sugar. Add milk and cook in double boiler until mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Add tempered egg yolks. Stir until thickened, approximately 10-15 minutes. Add vanilla. Cool slightly.
 
Make meringue: Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add ¼ cup sugar (or 6 tablespoons if you are making the larger meringue).
 
Make pudding: In a medium ovenproof dish, layer vanilla wafers and banana. Pour custard over the layers. Spread meringue over pudding and bake at 425 degrees until golden, approximately 5 minutes. Burns easily.

Bittersweet

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By , December 17, 2012 8:04 pm
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Holidays have a way of highlighting the difficulties, pain, and losses in our individual lives and in the world at large. For each of you, including those affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, I offer my heartfelt prayers. May you experience healing and renewed hope by knowing Jesus as your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

 
Being a Bible study teacher and a lifetime churchgoer, I am a likely target for purveyors of Christian merchandise. So it’s not surprising that I made it to the mailing list of a Christian jewelry manufacturer. Scanning their Christmas edition several years ago, I noticed how each two-page spread focused on a particular theme such as crosses or stars. The layout included an explanation of the spiritual significance of each object. A page featuring cardinals caught my attention. I was anxious to discover what they would say about my dear red bird. Though I lost that particular page long ago, the basic message will be with me forever. It said that the cardinal is one of nature’s most beloved creatures because it sings not only in the springtime, but also in the dreary and cold months of winter.
 
To have a heart that sings in the bitter cold is a rare thing indeed. Therein is the cardinal’s glory. The Bible tells us that Job possessed that trait as well. Job had four catastrophic losses in close succession. Messengers came bringing reports of the destruction of his livestock, servants, house, and children. This is how he responded to the news:
 
Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground before God. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:20-21 NLT)
 
Job acknowledged God as the source of everything he had and lost. As Lord of all, He is the One who governs what blessings are given and for how long. In the furnace of our trials, we discover how deeply we believe that God is good and just and right. Job didn’t blame God. Instead, he sought Him first when tragedy struck.
 
Many believers imagine that they have a bargain with God–a godly, faithful life in exchange for exemption from heartbreak. That was the case with me for the longest time. Because my earthly father shielded me from anything painful and unpleasant, I expected the same thing from my heavenly Father. It was confusing when hardship came my way. That deception was burned away in the light of God’s Word, for nowhere does it promise that God’s children will live trouble-free lives. It tells us just the opposite: “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7)
 
Job found a song when circumstances were anything but praiseworthy. He gave glory to God by pouring out a sacrifice of worship. To do this with integrity requires emptying the soul of any toxic contents. Pain has a way of forcing that stuff out into the open. It must be addressed before worship can happen. “No spring of water pours out sweet water and bitter water from the same opening.” (James 3:11 GNT) But when faced with a hard situation that we can’t change, our hearts contain both bitter and sweet.
 
By expressing his emotions appropriately, Job dissipated any bitterness. Certainly he experienced the anger and sadness that comes with loss. He was in so much emotional anguish that he tore his robe. That was a normal response in his culture. Today, whether we cry it out, talk it out, or write it out, God invites us to be honest about the way life’s events impact us. As we pour our hearts out like water before Him, we feel heard and more able to receive His comfort.
 
Job surrendered his pain to God, and so can we. By bowing low, we elevate God above all that hurts us and threatens to make us bitter people. As we sing, the cold and loneliness is replaced by the sweet presence of God. Our sacrifice of praise becomes a pleasing aroma as our fleshly desires give way to the character of Christ being formed in us.
 
Job chose to sing on the darkest and loneliest day of his life. And that is why I always think of Job whenever I spot a cardinal. They conquer the cold in the same way that Job prevailed over his pain. By their song, they bring glory to our God who is worthy to be praised at all times. Whenever I see my stunning red-winged friends, I view it as God’s reminder to sing my song until a new season of blessing breaks through.
 

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart…The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one. Psalm 34:1-2, 19 NLT

After Math

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By , September 16, 2012 1:58 pm
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“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10

 
This week our nation is remembering the year 2001, the year of 9/11. I’m sure you’ll hear people asking, “Where were you when you heard the news?” Though much smaller in scope, there was another event that happened in 2001 that changed me forever. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news: My 10-year-old daughter had been injured at a camp in Missouri.

I was at the lake with a friend, coming in from a hot morning on the dock, when my husband Bob called to tell me about the accident. At that very moment Merrill Lee was being wheeled into an operating room four states away. A team of surgeons had been gathered to perform an operation that would last for the next four hours. Bob was flying out to be with her that afternoon. I insisted that he not leave without me.

The report was shocking, numbing.  I put my emotions on hold, knowing I had to get to my child. I yelled for my friend, “Debby, can you pull some things together for me while I get a quick shower?” She came running and was horrified to see me strip naked as I dictated a list of items for my travel bag. I took the fastest shower of my life, grabbed my things, and jumped in the car.

I was facing a two-and-a-half hour drive, and it was a busy Friday afternoon on the road. All I could do was drive and pray that God would allow me to make that flight. I was praising the Lord as I passed Birmingham city limits without a speeding ticket and with a few minutes to spare. However, with only about a mile left to reach the airport, I encountered cars stacked in tight rows ahead of me. I entertained thoughts of abandoning my vehicle on the shoulder of the road. My marathon hadn’t been that long ago; no doubt I could run the rest of the way and still get there. But as I watched the clock and prayed all the more, God made a way through the maze of cars, into the terminal, and onto the airplane. I’m not sure my heartbeat slowed during the short flight to Memphis.

When we arrived at the gate to make our connecting flight into Branson, Bob and I learned that the plane was full. My emotions finally broke as I begged the attendant for a spot, telling her that my little girl was hurt. A sweet woman came forward from the crowd and gave up her seat so that I could go. “God bless you! Thank you!” I said. “You are an answer to prayer!”

Although it seemed the airplane could not fly fast enough, we eventually landed. We ran separately, one to the baggage claim and one to the rental car counter. It was close to midnight once we located the hospital and found the security guard to let us in. We rushed to the elevator, almost knocking down a woman in uniform who was leaving her shift. “Are you Merrill Lee’s parents?” she said. We nodded. “I thought so. I was with her all day today. She is an angel, an absolute angel. Let me show you to her room.”

As we walked, the nurse went on to tell us how amazed she was at Merrill Lee’s peace and composure. The only thing she had asked for was her Bible verse for the day. She was referring to a list of Scripture promises I had posted inside the lid of her trunk, one verse for each day that they would be there. God had put those verses on my heart to pray for both of my kids while they were away at camp. The verse for that day, June 15, 2001, was Isaiah 54:10 — “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” There was no doubt that God had fulfilled His promise—His love did not fail, and the peace that He gave was unshakable.

We all learned a valuable lesson by watching Merrill Lee. She saw the situation through the lens of childlike faith. She started with the heartfelt assurance that God loved her and would take good care of her. She wasn’t sure why this accident had happened, but her conviction about the character of God never wavered.

Most of us do exactly the opposite. We draw our conclusions about God based on our circumstances. My view of life used to look like this:

A + B = C (Circumstances)

God’s Word + My Faith = Pleasant Outcome/Results

 

That perspective worked pretty well for me in the good times. But in this painful and inexplicable situation, that viewpoint would leave me on shaky ground. By watching my 10-year-old, I came to understand that I must begin with a known endpoint, a technique mathematicians call “reverse engineering.” The equation that served Merrill Lee so well is this one:

C (Character of God) = A + B

God is love = His Word is True + Faith

 

The only outcome that my child expected was God’s unchanging love. God loves me, period. The certainty of that truth kept her (and those around her) on solid ground, even when her world was shaken. Though her story is small in comparison to the tragic events of 9/11, the implications of her perspective are huge. When we invite God’s presence into our situation, He will infuse it with His peace and compassion in proportion to our need.

And a little child will lead them.”

Isaiah 11:6

 

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